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NASA Receives Second Highest Number Of Astronaut Applications

February 6, 2012 Leave a comment

More than 6,300 individuals applied to become a NASA astronaut between Nov. 15, 2011 and Jan. 27, the second highest number of applications ever received by the agency. After a thorough selection process, which includes interviews and medical examinations, nine to 15 people will be selected to become part of the 21st astronaut class.

“This is a great time to join the NASA family,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “Our newest astronauts could launch aboard the first commercial rockets to the space station the next generation of scientists and engineers who will help us reach higher and create an American economy that is built to last.”

The Astronaut Selection Office staff will review the applications to identify those meeting the minimum requirements. Next, an expanded team, comprised mostly of active astronauts, will review those applications to determine which ones are highly qualified. Those individuals will be invited to Johnson Space Center for in-person interviews and medical evaluations.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/feb/HQ_12-041_ASCAN.html

NASA Announces Launch Date and Milestones for SpaceX Flight

January 13, 2012 Leave a comment

NASA has announced the launch target for Space Exploration Technologies’ (SpaceX) second Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration flight will be Feb. 7, 2012, pending completion of final safety reviews, testing and verification. NASA also has agreed to allow SpaceX to send its Dragon spacecraft to rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) in a single flight.

“SpaceX has made incredible progress over the last several months preparing Dragon for its mission to the space station,” said William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. “We look forward to a successful mission, which will open up a new era in commercial cargo delivery for this international orbiting laboratory.”

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/dec/HQ_11-413_SpaceX_ISS_Flight.html

NASA’s Fourth Status Report on Commercial Partners Progress Released

December 16, 2011 Leave a comment

NASA released the fourth in a series of 60-day reports today showing that commercial spaceflight development programs are moving forward. The agency’s U.S. industry partners continue to make progress in developing a transportation system to ferry cargo and U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station. The development of industry systems will allow NASA to concentrate its resources on deep space exploration.

The latest status report highlights the progress and accomplishments for the agency’s commercial spaceflight development efforts. The bi-monthly report is targeted toward non-technical stakeholders and the American public, to inform them of NASA’s achievements in maintaining spaceflight leadership.

NASA’s Commercial Spaceflight Development programs are investing financial and technical resources to stimulate efforts within the private sector to develop and demonstrate safe, reliable, and cost-effective space transportation capabilities.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/dec/HQ_M11-253_CCP_60-day_Report.html

NASA Takes Next Step in Developing Commercial Crew Program

December 15, 2011 Leave a comment

NASA announced today a modified competitive procurement strategy to keep on track the agency’s plan to have U.S. companies transport American astronauts into space instead of outsourcing this work to foreign governments.

Instead of awarding contracts for the next phase of the Commercial Crew Program, the agency plans to use multiple, competitively awarded Space Act Agreements. Using competitive Space Act Agreements instead of contracts will allow NASA to maintain a larger number of partners during this phase of the program, with the flexibility to adjust technical direction, milestones and funding.

This flexibility is important during a period of high budget uncertainty when NASA is receiving less funding than President Obama requested for the agency’s commercial space program.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/dec/HQ_11-419_RXTE_Black_Hole282689.html

Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen Unveils Space-Rocket Plan

December 13, 2011 2 comments

The co-founder of Microsoft has announced plans to build a new spaceship that could launch unmanned rockets and carry cargo into space.

Paul Allen, 58, plans to develop a giant aircraft that could put spaceships into orbit, rather than lifting them off from a launch pad.

Earlier this year Nasa closed its space shuttle programme after 30 years.

Virgin Galactica is working on a commercial space venture which aims to fly passengers into sub-orbit by 2013.

Aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan is a partner on Mr Allen’s project, which is to be called Stratolaunch Systems.

Full Story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16171482

NASA Signs Agreement with Space Florida to Reuse Kennedy Facilities

November 1, 2011 Leave a comment

In an innovative agreement that will create new jobs, NASA today announced a partnership with Space Florida to occupy, use and modify Kennedy Space Center’s Orbiter Processing Facility-3, the Space Shuttle Main Engine Processing Facility and Processing Control Center.

“The next era of space exploration won’t wait, and so we can’t wait for Congress to do its job and give our space program the funding it needs. That’s why my Administration will be pressing forward, in partnership with Space Florida and the private sector, to create jobs and make sure America continues to lead the world in exploration and discovery,” President Barack Obama said.

Space Florida, the aerospace economic development agency of the state of Florida, has an agreement for use of the Orbiter Processing Facility-3 with the Boeing Company to manufacture and test the company’s Crew Space Transportation (CST-100) spacecraft, creating up to 550 jobs along the Space Coast. The 15-year use permit with Space Florida is the latest step Kennedy is making as the center transitions from a historically government-only launch complex to a multi-user spaceport.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/oct/HQ_11-349_KSC_Agreement.html

NASA Releases Third Status Report On Commercial Partner Progress

October 26, 2011 Leave a comment

NASA’s industry partners continue to meet their established milestones in developing commercial crew transportation capabilities that will ferry U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space Station, reducing the amount of time America has to depend on Russia for launch services. NASA has outlined an ambitious program moving forward that relies on U.S. private industry to assume transportation of cargo and crew to the International Space Station, while the agency focuses on deep space exploration.

NASA has posted the third status report on its Commercial Crew Development 2 (CCDev2) program to the agency’s Commercial Space Transportation website. The report highlights the progress and accomplishments for the agency’s commercial spaceflight development efforts. The bi-monthly report is targeted toward non-technical stakeholders and the American public, to keep them informed of NASA’s achievements in regaining human spaceflight leadership through American-made access to space.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/oct/HQ_M11-221_CCP_Report.html